173º Anniversary of the birth of Silva Porto

11 de November, 2023

11 November marks the 173rd anniversary of the birth of Silva Porto, one of the leading names in naturalist painting in Portugal.


António Carvalho da Silva was born in Porto (the name of the city he adopted for his artistic nickname) in 1850 and died in Lisbon in 1893, aged 43.


After completing his studies at the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes, he left for Paris in 1873 as a state pensioner to study landscape painting. In France, he painted in Barbizon, the mythical birthplace of Naturalism, and in Auvers he met Daubigny, one of the masters of the movement.

He exhibited at the Salon in 1876 and 78. Settling in Rome, he travelled with Marques de Oliveira to various cities in Italy.


In 1879 he returned to Portugal. The landscapes he presented at the historic exhibition of the Sociedade Promotora das Belas-Artes in 1880 introduced the naturalist aesthetic to Portugal. Around him, a group of young painters gathered for the annual “Exposições de Quadros Modernos” (Exhibitions of Modern Paintings), which Columbano celebrated in 1885 with the collective portrait O Grupo do Leão.


In the last years of his activity, he developed a painting of regional types and customs, which would be explored in a more exuberant way by Malhoa and Carlos Reis.


Among the numerous works by Silva Porto on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, we would highlight the oil on canvas Colheira – Ceifeiras (Harvesting – Reapers) (pictured). This work was part of the Honório de Lima bequest in favour of Porto City Council in 1941.


Elisa Adelaide Bessa Lima, widow of Eduardo Honório de Lima, in fulfilment of her husband’s wishes, bequeathed 21 paintings by Silva Porto to Porto City Council in 1941. These 21 artworks are included in the 1938/39 General Inventory of the Porto Municipal Museum, whose collection was deposited at the Soares dos Reis National Museum in 1940/41, in accordance with Decree-Law 27.879 of 21 July 1937.


Cover photo: António Carvalho da Silva Porto (1850-1893), Portuguese artist, in an engraving published in 1886 in Diario Illustrado (@National Library of Portugal)